Stitch People Facebook Community FAQ

General

How long does a portrait/one person take to stitch?

If you are just beginning as a cross stitcher and this is your first Stitch People project, one Stitch Person could take an hour and a half to two hours.  However, as you get more comfortable with stitching, you will find that you get quicker and quicker. Eventually a small portrait may only take you a couple of hours!

Can we post fan portraits: characters from TV and movies?

Because of the iffy tightrope walk that is the world of trademarks, we don’t encourage you to post pictures of trademarked Television, Movie or Comic Book Characters.  If you do choose to share something that may be trademarked, please use the following guidelines
  • Clearly mark on your post that this is a “Personal Interpretation” or something of that nature
  • DO NOT post patterns, only finished or in progress pieces of the physical portrait itself

Where are the "Extras"?

When you purchase the Do It Yourself Stitch People book, you will be emailed with a link to the bonus online extras.  If you no longer have the email, just send us a message at info@stitchpeople.com and we can resend you the link.


Please keep in mind the online extras are a "Thank You" gift for those who have purchased the Do-It-Yourself Stitch People book. We ask that you DO NOT share the link.

 

Organizing/Tools

What cross-stitch pattern design program is best?

While some people prefer to design their patterns with colored pencils and graph paper, others wish to design on computers, phones, and tables. The best pattern creating program to use is subjective and depends on a number of factors.  We’d suggest that you try a few out and see what you are most comfortable with. Here are a few you might start with:

For purchase:

Free

How do you store thread/floss?

Here's a blog post we've written about this very subject!

We like to use bobbins which fit neatly into an accompanying case. This is similar to the one we use.  There are all kinds of options out there. Just a quick internet search will show you options that might better fit you: check out all these floss organization ideas on Pinterest!

How do I travel with supplies?

Here's a blog post we've written about this very subject! Hopefully the information you find there will be helpful. We also sell Stitch People totes that make it easy to keep your Stitch People and cross-stitching supplies close at hand, and mobile!

Where do I find supplies?

For those of you just starting out, we offer a Cross-Stitch Starter kit  with everything you need to begin your first Stitch People project.

We also encourage you to support your locally owned needlework store.  Not only will you find hundreds of types of thread and fabric but you will also get the benefit of the knowledge and experience of the staff.  Mention Stitch People while you’re there!

What hoop or frame is best and how do I use them?

There are lot’s of options for hoops and frames out there.  What type you use is largely up to personal preference. When creating our Stitch People, we use either a 5” wooden or plastic hoop, or a 6" Q-snap with our 14 count Aida fabric.

Hoops are very easy to use.  Simply lay your fabric over the inner hoop and place the outer hoop over the top.  Tighten the screw as tight as you can without bending the hardware and then pull your fabric taut, going in a circular motion around the hoops.

We’ve also grown to be big fans of the Q-snap which functions very similarly to a hoop, but is made of plastic, and prevents creasing in your Aida fabric.

 

Patterns

Trellis or Chuppah

We're currently developing a "Backgrounds" book with many good background options for all sorts of settings! Garden parties, road trips, tropical vacations, ski trips, hiking adventures - you name it! This book should be released before end-of-year 2018.

    Sport Jersey

    Check out around page 64 of the Do-it-yourself Stitch People book in the "Men's Clothing" section. There are some jersey samples there that can give you an idea of how to create one. This pattern is easily adaptable for women and children.

    We're also developing a series of sports-specific patterns that will be released over the course of Fall-Winter 2018.

    Large Backgrounds

    We're currently developing a "Backgrounds" book with many good background options for all sorts of settings! Garden parties, road trips, tropical vacations, ski trips, hiking adventures - you name it! This book should be released before end-of-year 2018.

    Various Dog Breeds

    We have over 30 different dog breed patterns between the Do-it-yourself Stitch People book and the bonus online extras.  Here’s a complete list of what we have available.
    • Airedale Terrier
    • Australian Shepherd
    • Beagle
    • Bernese Mountain Dog
    • Bichon Frise
    • Blood Hound
    • Border Collie
    • Boxer
    • Brittany Spaniel
    • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
    • Chow Chow
    • Cocker Spaniel
    • Collie
    • Corgi
    • Dachshund
    • Doberman Pinscher
    • English Bulldog
    • French Bulldog
    • German Shepherd
    • Golden Retriever
    • Great Dane
    • Greyhound
    • Jack Russell Terrier
    • Labrador Retriever
    • Labradoodle
    • Mastiff
    • Miniature Schnauzer
    • Pomeranian
    • Poodle, Large
    • Poodle, Small
    • Rottweiler
    • Samoyed
    • Shetland
    • Shih Tzu
    • Siberian Husky
    • Yorkshire Terrier
    • "Generic" Dog patterns

    We know there are probably about a million more and we won’t be able to make individual patterns for all of them!  Instead, we have created this helpful guide for you to use to adapt your patterns to fit the individual characteristics of your own furry friends.  You can find that blog post here.

    Patterned shirts/dresses, Leopard Print

    Unless it is a large pattern, we recommend giving the hint of the pattern of shirts, skirts and dresses on our Stitch People.  On the online extras (see above), you will find the “Floral Skirt Designs” pattern which goes into detail about how to create patterned skirts but this can be translated to any item of clothing you choose.

    And for leopard print - AWESOME. We have a blog post on how to depict the most awesome of all prints here.

    Larger sized people

    You'll notice that Stitch People characters are generally all the same width. This was a specific choice regarding the simplistic design philosophy of Stitch People. You can read more about that in our blog post all about it.

    After reading if you still feel you would like to reflect a larger frame in your portraits, we have additional patterns available in the bonus online extras (see above) that come with your Do-It-Yourself Stitch People book.

    Someone sitting at desk/chair

    You will find a couple chair and/or desk options in the Occupations and Hobbies book available from Stitch People. You could also adapt the wheelchair pattern available on the online extras patterns available with your Do-It-Yourself Stitch People book.

    A departed family member/baby:

    Often when creating our family portraits, we want to honor those people who were important in our lives but have since passed away.  We have written a post with some ways that you might represent those important people. You can read that post here.

    Other Stitch People fans have, in the Facebook Stitch People Community, have suggested adding a small yellow back-stitched halo above their heads, a star above their head, angel wings, or stitching them in all-white clothing.

    The second edition of "Do-It-Yourself Stitch People" contains a couple pages specifically dedicated to this subject.       

    Teddy bear

    Who didn’t have a teddy bear friend when they were younger!?  We have included a pattern for these all important members of the family in our online extras patterns that accompanies the Do-It-Yourself Stitch People book.

    Small pets

    We have a selection of small pets other than cats and dog available with the Do-It-Yourself Stitch People book online extras (including an iguana!).  Other animals that you might find on a homestead or farm (including guinea pig and mice) can be found in our Farm Animals pattern book.

    Tattoos

    Here is a blog post about how to create tattoos for your Stitch People characters.

     

    How To Stitch...

    Black dog eyes

    Although it can be a bit worrying that dark eyes will disappear on black dogs, we have found some ways that you can help to highlight them:

    • Use black, glitter ("light effects") floss. Then, the eyes are black (as they should be) but will catch the light when displayed to pop against the non-glitter black floss.
    • Combine one black thread with one white thread to stitch the eyes. It adds just enough white in there to make the eyes stand out. Be careful, though, because sometimes the eyes can look a bit wander-y.
    • Use dark gray floss. It's just enough difference to see the eyes better on black floss/fur, but still alludes to the dark eyes the dog actually has.
    • Lizzy's Favorite Method: It's a bit tricky but worth it! Stitch the dog's eyes using two threads of black floss, making French knots. THEN switch your floss. Thread your needle with one thread of white floss and begin a French knot in the same place as the black French knots. Before pulling the white floss tight, use your fingers or the tip of your needle to be sure the white floss loops around the existing black French knot. This will give the eye a subtle, thin white outline to help the black eyes stand out from the black fur. Don't move too quickly on this one! Patience is key, but it looks great when it's done!

    "3-D" Hair

    If you feel like changing up the hairdo’s of your Stitch People, beyond just using cross-stitches, try some of the tips we have given in our blog post available here.

    Wedding veils/dresses/accessories with volume

    We're working on more wedding resources for you. The online extras page has a guide about making lace you can check out.

    As for veils, an effective method has been to use 1 strand of white (or appropriately colored) floss, and create long, straight stitches on either side of the bride, and around/behind the hair, shoulders, and arms area (as needed, depending on your pattern.) This gives sort of a sheer-looking effect.

    Should I outline/backstitch my characters?

    This is totally up to your personal preference. 

    Why would you outline characters? Some people choose to do this to define the characters, and help them "pop" against the Aida fabric. This can be particularly tempting to do when your fabric color matches a lot of the color in your portrait (i.e. white Aida fabric behind a white wedding dress, or a white dog).

    What we recommend is to only outline the specific element that needs definition. So, for example, if you've stitched a bride and groom on white Aida fabric, and the bride's dress is bright white, use 1 strand of a very light gray and stitch only around the dress. If you have a white cat, or a dog with a white chest, use 1 strand of a very light gray or taupe around only the white areas of the animal.

    Some people, however, really like the look of a black-outlined portrait, using 1 or 2 strands of black floss around all characters. This gives the characters a bit more of a cartoon-style feel. Try it! See if you like it! If not, you can always pick out the stitches.

    How to choose colors for skin hair?

    In the resources of "Do-It-Yourself Stitch People" around page 91 of the Do-it-yourself Stitch People book, there are recommendations for skin tones, hair colors and denim.

    How do I tackle two colors in one stitch?

    Many patterns utilize half-stitches that show two colors sharing one square of space in a pattern. Completing this kind of square of space can take a number of different forms, depending on your needs. 

    We've created a video to help you understand! You can check that out on YouTube here!

    What is an easy way to unpick mistakes?

    We personally like to use a little seam ripper to specifically slice through the tops of stitches we need to remove, then use a  needle or tweezers to poke and pull the ripped threads through the Aida fabric holes.

     

    Finishing a Portrait

    What frames should I use, and where do I find frames?

    To frame our portraits, we have been using picture frames from IKEA. Really, there isn’t a "one size fits all" solution for framing your portraits. It's all up to personal preference! You may try checking out your local second hand store or goodwill for some reasonably priced options, or visit a framing shop for something more custom!

    Keep in mind how you'd like to frame your portrait from the start. If you want to fit your portrait into a "standard" size frame, like a 4"x6" or 8"x10," keep that in mind as you design your portrait, so you'll know that you portrait fits. Larger families may require a wide and narrow custom frame.

    How do I frame my finished portrait?

    In the resources section, around pages 94 and 95 of the Do-It-Yourself Stitch People book, there is a guide for how to frame your portraits both in a typical picture frame, as well as in an embroidery hoop.

    What is interfacing, and should I use it?

    Interfacing is an iron-on backing that we use to finish the backing of our Stitch People portraits when we sell them to customers. We use this, specifically, but there are a number of different options you could consider.

    We use the gray color because we’ve found that you can still see the threads/back of the work through white interfacing.

    Interfacing is NOT necessary, however. We started using it when we began to sell portraits to customers to make the back look more "pretty" and to secure the threads of the floss.

    How do I/should I iron out wrinkles?

    Yes! We recommend gently hand washing your finished piece if necessary, using a mild detergent and water. Then pat it dry with a clean towel. Then, using an iron on the setting appropriate for your fabric to iron out any remaining wrinkles. This setting will likely be a high one for "cotton" or "linen." Try to avoid directly ironing your cross-stitch work so the embroidery floss does not get a squished look.

    How do I make ornaments?   

    We're going to make a blog post about this, but you can create little individual portraits of characters and buy small hoops to frame them in. Then, tie ribbons to the tops of these hoops to hang them on your tree. You can find mini embroidery hoops (1.5" - 3" on Amazon or sometimes on 123stitch.com).

    You can make Christmas versions of your characters and Christmas scenes using our Christmas patterns available online, here. 

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